15 things you need to know about alterations {part 1}

So, you have the dress (from Anna Be, of course!) and it couldn't be more wonderful... well except that it needs to be taken in at the bust, and it's about a foot too long, and the flowers are laying a little funny on the skirt. Never you fear, your seamstress is here!

I always say "your" seamstress, because inviting anyone to work on your wedding is developing a relationship with you, and you better feel good about anyone you trust with a pair of scissors near your dress. Mehrnoush and Bev our two of our favorite gals and they're the ones you'll meet if you come to Anna Be, but anyone you go to should give you the same friendly, attentive vibe.

Back to the dress. This is the point in the game where we get very practical. Sometimes it can be a bummer, but there's a lot of factors to consider, and we want to make sure your dress is great all day: moving, dancing, hugging family, etc not just perfect from a magazine-like "Blue Steel" pose. It's almost impossible for a dress to fit you perfectly from the designer, even if they took a custom measurement. The idea of ordering in your dress for you is that we'll get as close as we can taking your whole body into consideration, and then custom fit from there. Wedding dresses are more complicated than most other garments you'll ever wear, and the additional structure/support/layers all need a bit more tweaking, that's how they make you look so good!

#1: So, will your seamstress simply wave her magical fairy wand and turn you into a Cinderella-like fairy tale? Well, not quite. What she (or he, there are plenty of awesome tailors in town) will do is get down and dirty with the very core of your dress, perform a little fabric surgery, and adjust things to as close to you as possible.

#2: Most alterations will include shaping through the side seams, sewing in cups for you, hemming the bottom of the dress, and putting in a bustle for your train. If you want to add any "extras" like adding straps or flowers or buttons usually that's no problem, but plan on bringing those materials to your seamstress so she knows exactly what you want.

#3: Your first fitting is where everything gets pinned (and no, they don't hurt the dress). Your seamstress will check with you how things feel (is the bodice tight enough, can you walk, etc) and check the evenness of everything. Then you'll set up another appt to meet up and test the work. Basically, she takes the dress home and takes what she pinned, and puts in the actual seams. Sometimes for delicate work that can't be redone, she'll put in a test seam, so that next time you meet, she can make sure before she does something like un-bead some lace or roll a chiffon hem too high. Once you're both happy with the work, you pay her, thank her, and then you come back to us, where we can figure out the next step (if you're traveling and it needs to be boxed, if you need it pressed, etc)

#4: So what's all this going to run you? Well, that's a tricky question, because I haven't seen your dress on you and I have no idea what you need. But we're finding standard alterations are coming in around $350-$450 this days. A simple hem and the bodice already fits you, maybe it'll be $150. No side seams, a major hem reconstruction and 11 point bustle on a high-end gown? $600 might be more like it. Hopefully we can give you a rough sense based on how complicated the dress is.

#5: Most alterations run pretty smoothly, but we recommend having a friend there to help if you feel something is getting lost in translation. Bring someone logical and calm who helps you mellow out; alterations time can feel overwhelming when you start thinking of all the little things left to do with the wedding, and small issues can easily be blown out of proportion without a good solid friend to bring you back to reality. Your seamstress really, truly wants you to be happy, so if you're concerned about something, don't be afraid to speak up, and if you don't understand something, ask for an explanation (PS, this is why I like when girls come to Anna Be. We've sat in on hundreds of fittings, and I think our whole team does as awesome job translating seamstress speak if something she's doing is confusing to you.


{part 2 coming tomorrow!}